Dark Times

It’s not that I was some great fan of Hillary Clinton, at least not before the Democratic National Convention.  I was surprised to find myself crying when she gave her speech accepting the Presidential nomination for the Democratic party.  It hit me that this was a historic moment: my daughters and I might actually see a woman in the White House.  That it’s 2016 and we are America – so smug and arrogant about our progressiveness – and we still haven’t put a woman in the White House is shameful and mind-boggling.  But suddenly it seemed as though we were going to flex our progressive, equitable muscles.

And like many, many people, I’ve been dumbfounded to see the likes of Donald Trump rising to the level of presidential nominee for one of our two major political parties.  How was it even possible that someone as vile as him – with a trail of well-documented (not just speculation, but cold, hard evidence, often in the form of video and audio of he himself saying and doing horrible things) – could make it onto the ballot?

But I took heart.  There was no way that my countrymen would actually vote him into office.  I mean, seriously – we’re America!  I know there are a lot of racist, misogynistic, bigoted, backward people in this country, but surely not enough of them to put someone like him in office.

And Hillary’s message grew on me.  Yes, we are stronger together.  I was moved by her speeches.  I was moved by the fact that her entire adult life has been spent in public service.  I was moved by her knowledge and experience and calm demeanor, even when she was being torn down.  I respected that she held her head high no matter what.  She would be a good leader, I believed that.

Like a lot of people, I turned on news coverage last night expecting a very different outcome.  I was pretty confident that America would see fit to put the right person in office.  I really believed that she would win by a comfortable margin.  When the numbers began coming in so close, I began to feel physically ill.  My stomach was in knots, my heart was thudding – a bona fide anxiety attack.  By the end of the night, I was in tears.  I barely slept last night.

How did we get here?

I feel betrayed.  I feel a great anger – not only at all the people who actually voted for Donald Trump, an unqualified, ill-tempered, vindictive, childish, racist, bigoted, xenophobic, lying, cheating, woman abuser, but for all the third party voters and abstainers who allowed this to happen.  I’m sure when you wrote in your uncle’s name or your favorite cartoon character’s name or filled in the bubble for Jill Stein, you felt morally superior in the moment.  Well, fuck you. You not only threw your vote away, you handed it to a monster.  How do you feel now?

What am I supposed to tell my daughters?  Or my sons?  Do I lie to them?  Or do I tell them the truth: that no, America is not ready for a female president, and we would rather have an inexperienced, loose cannon, lying, cheating, prejudice, woman assaulter in the White House than a qualified, experienced, even-tempered woman who has devoted herself to causes that serve the public interest?

I am trying to tell myself that life will go on, pretty much as usual.  That this will have very little effect on my family’s daily existence.  But I don’t know if that’s actually true.  I fear that the likes of Trump will drag us into another recession, that he cares so little about diplomacy and foreign policy that he will drag us into a horrible war.  I don’t think those fears are unfounded.  But even if my family’s lives aren’t impacted much, it would be utterly selfish to not worry about all the immigrants who now have to worry about deportation and having their families ripped apart, about the LGBT community who now has to worry about their marriages being nullified, about the Muslims who will be harassed and scrutinized and distrusted because Trump thinks they’re all potential terrorists.  And even if my day-to-day life goes on as usual, I live with the knowledge that my family lives in a country in which lying and cheating get a pass, sexual assault against women is acceptable, that abusers aren’t held accountable.

I am sickened.  And very, very afraid.

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14 Responses to Dark Times

  1. Amy Novak November 9, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    Perfectly said, Lisa. Thank you.

  2. mkwinada November 9, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    We are in a similar mind space today. Peace to you and your family. What a sad day.

  3. Jay Iyer November 9, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    If the rural white masses think this will get them jobs, that it was worth buying bigotry, sexism, racism, despotism, narcissism, being bullied, ignorance on international affairs and military strategy, because we will “make America great again” and “bring jobs back to America,” think again. You kill free trade, you will lose what little you have. I am beyond sad on so many fronts – and terribly afraid.

  4. soundtek November 9, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    you and me both

  5. Catherine November 9, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    As an Australian, the person who holds the role of the President of the United States is important to me. The person who makes decisions on behalf of other nations, makes policy for the free world and ultimately decides on its future. With Obama at the helm it felt safe. Now, tomorrow is completely uncertain. Your post put into words everything I was feeling yesterday as I watched the unthinkable happen. That he made the ballot was unbelieveable in the extreme. That he was actually voted into office, is a very frightening joke.

  6. Stacey November 9, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

    There have been Presidents that I didn’t care for, but this is the first time I have felt genuine fear for our country. There have been Presidents I didn’t agree with politically, but this is the first time I’ve been concerned that the triad balance of power might fail. And this is the first time since my daughter was born twelve years ago that I have wondered if she will lose the right to control her own body, a right that the women in our country got within my own lifetime. Dark times, indeed.

    • Mrs Odie December 27, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

      Agreed. Regardless of what he does or doesn’t do, what I can’t stand is that this man represents us. He is ugly inside and out. He is a smug, spoiled man-child and a pathological liar. He doesn’t read books and doesn’t believe in any facts that are inconvenient to him getting what he wants. He doesn’t believe that some opinions are more credible than others based on the ethos of the person holding them. He only values opinions that justify what he wants. I hate him with the heat of a thousands suns.

      • Lisa December 27, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

        I do, too. I have a visceral reaction every goddamn time I hear him speak or read his latest jackass tweets or quotes. I despise him, and I truly fear for this country under his so-called leadership.

        Good to hear from you, Mrs. Odie.

  7. Karin Litzcke November 9, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

    As a Canadian it is not my business to comment here (though I have done so on Twitter!) but the one thing I can offer is that this video helps to unpack THAT video and perhaps will leave you feeling better:

    • Mrs Odie December 27, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

      This is supposed to make me feel better? This apologist video that suggests Trump was being attacked? Every presidential election is about character. This is disgusting. Your defense of him is disgusting. Sorry you think feminism is a joke (“LOL”). Glad you’re not an American.

  8. Jodie November 10, 2016 at 12:34 am #

    Hey Lisa, watching the whole unbelievable debacle from New Zealand, my thoughts were much the same as yours. I thought he would never get as far as the nomination, then I thought he would have his fun being the centre of attention blustering away, then he would get a short sharp shift (off the planet!) come election day. Surely, collectively, you guys wouldn’t entertain having him in the top job…? Unfortunately as soon as you get a woman who stands her ground, knows what she’s talking about and vies for a powerful job, you get men (who ordinarily have a good respect for women and their capabilities), feeling their manhood threatened and loudly criticising and putting her down – even her personal choices (what the hell it has to do with them I don’t know!). We saw it here in New Zealand with our first elected Prime Minister, Helen Clark.
    I feel for you all, and the uncertainty you face.

  9. Emily November 10, 2016 at 8:25 am #

    Well said, Lisa.

    I can almost forgive the truly ignorant who voted for Trump. They are sheep following the herd. The idea of a woman president on the heels of a black president is more than they can stomach in their small-minded, bigoted worlds. The older version of these sheep are more understandable than the younger ones who, theoretically, should be more enlightened merely by virtue of having grown up in a more enlightened time. At least this group, both old and young, have made no bones about where they stand.

    The Trump voters who are truly unforgivable in my book are the pretenders, the cowards, the “silent” majority. I know many intelligent people who would never admit in public to their racism, their misogynistic outlooks, their xenophobia. They are also the ones who claimed to be “undecided” prior to the vote and now will not discuss who they voted for. Obviously, these are the folks who came out of the woodwork and tipped the election to Trump. I know plenty of these people and am disgusted. I will never look at them in the same way. Their vote for Trump has revealed their racism, bigotry and unkindness just as if they had used the ‘n’ word or shouted “build the wall” in public.

    I do take comfort in knowing that many of Trump’s campaign promises will never be realized. The ‘angry white man’ is going to be really angry when he figures out how little Trump will actually do for him. At his core, Trump is a slimy businessman and that’s how he will run America. Even a Republican congress is unlikely to support his efforts to repeal abortion rights, deport immigrants en masse or restrict trade with foreign countries. My hope is that once Trump sees the handwriting on the wall, he will shut his mouth and be merely an ineffective president, not a particularly dangerous one. Of course it could go the other way. Once he realizes how little he can do, he may again become the angry Donald Trump. And yes, then, we are all in trouble. I’m hoping for an ineffective Trump who at best
    makes America the laughing stock of the world, but does little actual permanent harm.

    As Hillary said in her concession speech, we must all continue to effect change where we can, especially during the next four years. America will then have another chance to elect a decent President.

  10. Sue November 11, 2016 at 2:19 am #

    Yes. This has a different, meaner, dangerous feel to it. I brought my six year old son with me to NH on Tuesday to GOTV for Hillary. He was so proud to help…and I was able to tell him that she (and Hassan) won NH by a narrow margin, so what he did mattered. I told him that we will always fight for the things we believe in. I am scared but I will work harder than I ever have to change what I can. What choice do we have?

  11. DM November 13, 2016 at 7:28 am #

    Great post, Lisa. You expressed so much of what I feel –angry, fearful, sad. I’m so disappointed in my fellow countrymen and in the media who made a huge deal out of Clinton’s emails while ignoring the truly dangerous, suspect aspects of Trumps past. It was nothing less than a female lynching. She has been punished over and over again for being ambitious. Did you know the media blamed HRC for contributing to her husbands 2nd term defeat as Governor? Yes, she was not seen as supportive because she kept her maiden name. After that, she changed it. This woman cannot win.

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